Come visit with me as I stitch and craft my way from one Christmas to the next - I like to have Christmas projects close by me all year. I have a particular fondness for Santas and Angels. If you have the time, leave a comment so I know you've visited.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Advent Blog Hop post

Here we are already at 18th December (well, at least it is here already in Australia where I live), and that's my day for posting on Jo's Christmas Advent Blog Hop.  Christmas is big in my life, so I am most happy to be here to share it with you.

The cross stitch picture I am putting up is L&L's Angel of Love.  I chose her, not because she was a new piece this year, but because of her story.

In 2004, Patti K from Canada and I were both members of an on-line cross stitch group, and one day she posted "I wish someone would take this angel off my hands", and put up a pic of a partially stitched Angel of Love.  She had started it at the request of her sister in law in 2000, and had stitched the Angel's head, wings, and sleeves, and a little of the top of the cape.  Her sister in law then changed her mind about wanting the angel, and she had sat in Patti's work basket for nearly 5 years.  I'd never stitched anything as big as a L&L before, never stitched with beads, and never stitched on linen. But I put up my hand, and just before Christmas 2004, I got a lovely package from Canada which contained the part-stitched angel on beautiful linen fabric, all the floss and beads that Patti had kitted up for it, the original chart, and a soft padded project bag.  I was so excited!  Unfortunately, I was having health problems at the time - flu-like symptoms, tiredness, aching painful swollen joints especially my hands.  At the time I was unable to fasten my own car seat-belt or do something as simple as put on socks or do up a bra. To cut a long story short, I was very soon after diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I immediately was put on to methotrexate, which for me was a miracle drug, but it's a drug that takes a while to build up in the body to therapeutic levels, and for me it took just on 6 months before it got the symptoms under control. Despite this, I was keen to get started on the Angel, and started her just after Christmas 2005.  I can still recall sitting in tears trying to pick up a bead with my needle, and sometimes it would take me half an hour to get just 1 or 2 beads stitched on that skirt.  But, being somewhat stubborn and quite compulsive about my hobbies, I persisted, and put in my final stitches in the Angel of Love before the end of May 2005.  I stitched (in gold Mill Hill petite beads) Patti's initials and her starting year of 2000, and my initials and my finishing year of 2005 on the bottom, and sent her for framing.  When I sent a photo over to Patti, she was thrilled to see her finished and framed, and said it brought tears to her eyes.  A more generous person may have sent the finished piece back to Patti, but to be honest, that was never going to happen!  Since then, the Angel of Love has spent January to mid November hanging on the wall of my lounge room, and the festive season hanging wherever my angels are being displayed - for the past few years in my dining room.  I have since stitched L&L's Angels of Grace and Hope, and many Santas I love them all, but none of my cross stitched items is as special to me as the Angel of Love.

As I said, I'm into Christmas in a big way.  I stitch all year for Christmas. I decorate the entire house for Christmas, including changing all the art works and the contents of the display cupboards.  It takes me (with a lot of help, and very little sleep) at least three weeks to transition into Christmas, and at least one week to change back after Christmas. I like to have the house back to its usual state by New Years Day, and so far I have always managed to do it, but this year I have my doubts!  From Dec 1 to Dec 24 I have lots of Christmas visitors. Many of them are children, accompanied by assorted relatives.  Some families I see only at Christmas.  I usually stitch a Christmas ornament for any child I know will be visiting, and I also have little take-home gifts, gingerbreads, and handmade angels for the children, and most adults.  I really enjoy my Christmas visits!  The few days before Christmas are the most popular visiting times (after school is finished for the year), so by Christmas Eve I am pretty tired.  After I see off the last of my Christmas visitors, I sit and watch the Christmas Carols by Candlelight on TV, and relax.  My extended family has its Christmas party early, usually on the weekend before Christmas.  On Christmas Day I trot across the road to my sister's house for Christmas brunch, and that signals for me the end of Christmas.  I come home and start packing things away. An anti-climax, really.  It's like saying goodbye to old friends, as I wrap and pack the Santas, angels, and other decorations. But it's nice to have the old house back!  I usually swear I'll never do it again, and that holds till about August, when I start to think how nice it will be to have all my Christmas things around me - and the cycle starts again!

Today, if you came to my front door and stepped inside, this is what you would see:

Thank you for your Christmas Advent visit!  Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.  I hope 2016 brings for each of you a year of good health, good fortune, peace and contentment - and lots of joy!


Le trame della Galaverna said...

Hi dear
It is a very beautiful story an important story.
Congratulations for your great great finish. Angel is wonderful like is history. I'm writing you from Italy and now the clock marks the eleven forty-five p.m. :-) good night

Linda said...

Your house looks amazing. Sure wish I could come and see it.


Marie said...

I enjoyed reading your story of Angel of Love. Your did a beautiful job stitching her.
Such a huge accomplishment.
Enjoyed the pictures of your decorated home. It is so much work but well worth the effort.
Merry Christmas!

Lesley said...

It was lovely to read about your traditions. I would say your Angel of Love came to you when you most needed her.It must be lovely for all your visitors,especially the children to see your decorations at Christmas.Wishing you a Happy Christmas.

gominam said...

What a beautiful post! You're an angel for rescuing and finishing that lovely L&L. Thanks for sharing your photos, so Christmassy in your house. Have a blessed Christmas:)

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Thanks for taking part in the Advent Calendar Blog Hop this year. And what a wonderful story too. I have to say that you are one of the least selfish stitchers I know, virtually everything I have seen you stitch is for someone else! All those ornies this year.
Your house is amazing too, it is a real Christmas Cottage!

Brigitte said...

This story about the Angel of Love is very special. What a great gift to receive from a fellow stitcher. And great that you were able to finish it in spite of your arthritis.
Nice to read about your Christmas traditions.

Katie said...

I'm hopping by on the blog hop. What a beautiful story to a gorgeous piece. I just LOVE how much love you put into your home. How wonderful! I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

cheryl said...

I enjoyed the story behind your Angel of Love. I love your decorations, too. Merry Christmas!

Sheryl S. said...

Great post and wonderful Angel of Love. love how you decorate your house, makes me think I ought to make more of an effort as I did when the children were young.

Barb said...

What a great story about The Angel of Love. (I would keep it too)Your home look so warm and inviting! Thank you for sharing pictures.

Justine said...

Wow your house is like a grotto! Amazing. Your Angel is beautiful. I would have kept her too.

Julie said...

Your home is a beautiful wonderland of Christmassy treasures.

Astrids dragon said...

Your Angel of Love truly is as described! She is stunning, you did a fabulous job. What a beautifully decorated home, how can you not decorate every year?!
I know how hard is it living with RA, my mother has had it over 40 years.
Happy New Year!

Annie said...

What a lovely, lovely post - full of love and Christmas spirit! I'd love to be a Christmas visitor in your house:))